Manufacturing process of pharmaceuticals
High quality materials and unique manufacturing processes ensure first-class pharmaceuticals
To manufacture our own pharmaceuticals, we only ever use raw materials of highest quality and proven origin. To maintain this high standard, we cultivate our medicinal plants in our own medicinal plant gardens. The processing of our pharmaceuticals complies with pharmacopoeias while our distinctive manufacturing rests on three essential elements: special rhythmic process, gradual heating process and our own unique handling of metals and minerals.
Quality-assured raw materials from our own gardens
In anthroposophic medicine, the ingredients of a substance are important for their therapeutic effects, but so is origin and further processing – the full biography of the substance. Above all it’s quality from which everything derives – excellent quality, purity and authenticity are the highest priority for all our drug substances.
To ensure this, Weleda has its own medicinal plant gardens, including the largest garden of medicinal plants in Europe - with 180 medicinal plant species on 16 acres of bio-dynamically managed land. The healing agents of these plants are incorporated in Weleda’s medicines, but we also promote ecological and controlled medicinal plant cultivation projects around the world and, for some ingredients, audited landscape areas, where wild ingredients can be collected in trustworthy conditions.Other essential materials for anthroposophic medicines can be of inorganic, animal or metallic origin. The constitution of these raw materials is equally significant for the production of drugs. The metals and minerals we need to use are not ‘bought-in’ ready made, but are prepared by us from the natural primordial state.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing processes
Once we’ve gathered our high quality raw materials, the pharmaceutical manufacturing processes they must go through, and the special recipes to which they contribute, are just as important for the quality and effect of Weleda’s medicines. First of all, we adhere to the relevant pharmacopoeias for processing of raw materials into drugs – these include quality measures and regular controls by governmental institutions. Raw materials are frequently sampled and checked to ensure they are not contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, or potentially infested with bacteria or fungi.
Weleda’s has distinctive elements of processing raw materials through three stages – the special rhythmic process, the gradual heating process and our unique handling of metals and minerals. We also have three unique manufacturing processes that are only practised at Weleda: metal mirror, ‘vegetabilisation’ of metals and the Rh-method.
Metal mirror is a sort of ‘rejuvenating cure’ for a particular metal. For this manufacturing process the metal is liquefied and then evaporated by steadily increasing heat in a vacuum. As it does this, the metal is reflected as a metal mirror on the walls of the glass flask. A metal which could be millions of years old is purified and rejuvenated, with the ‘new’ metal more active and dynamic in its effect than the ‘old’ one.
‘Vegetabilisation’ of metals
For the ‘vegetabilisation’ of metal, a soluble preparation is produced from an ore mineral or a naturally occurring metal. This serves as a ‘fertiliser’ for the soil, in which a medicinal plant can be grown. The plant is harvested and composted at flowering time and, in the following year, the compost fertilises a new bed for the same plant species. This process is repeated once more and then the third-generation plant is processed to the medicinal product. The lifeless metal has become part of a life process and is thereby potentiated and dynamised.
With the help of the Rh-method (Rh stands for rhythm), aqueous preparations from fresh plants are produced. The pressed juices of the plants are repeatedly heated to 37°C and shaken rhythmically in the morning. In the evening, they are cooled to 4°C and again rhythmically shaken. As long as the resulting fermented products are sealed and stored in a cool place, they need no preservatives. The aqueous Rh-dilutions are only available in small pack sizes of 20ml to account for the limited shelf life of opened packs. This method is particularly good for preparing medicinal products for children, avoiding the use of alcohol as a preservative.